Picture of potatoes by Lars Blankers via Unsplash.com

Engineering sustainability with K&K Produce

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For over 35 years, K&K Produce has been a leading supplier of fresh food in Ireland. As a member of the An Bord Bia Origin Green Scheme, Ireland’s food and drink sustainability programme, K&K Produce work with large fruit and vegetable growers based in Ireland and overseas to provide fresh potatoes, fruit and vegetables to the retail, food and wholesale markets.

Processing potatoes involves sourcing from third party suppliers, washing, grading and packaging. The washing process generates sludge which would ordinarily be disposed of by spreading on farmland. Since K&K Produce had no available land for spreading the sludge, the wash residue was concentrated in settling tanks and the sludge disposed of through a licensed waste management company.

In order to satisfy the An Bord Bia Origin Green requirements, the company commissioned Callaghan Engineering (CE) to review current European best practice for potato washing facilities. Having reviewed several potato washing facilities in the UK and in The Netherlands, CE devised a more sustainable approach based on a closed loop wash water recycling system. This approach solved the contradictory requirements of space constraints, planning and regulatory compliance.

The primary components of the system are a lamella separator to clarify the water and a belt press filter to recover the maximum possible amount of water from the sludge generated.

The output consists of a dry solid clay residue and recycled water. The entire system is computer controlled with variable speed motors to monitor and optimize the process while minimising energy consumption.

Water conservation was achieved through a closed loop cycle, providing a full recycled water exchange in the washer every hour. This reduced the metered water consumption in the facility by 100 cubic metres per week of operation.

This project delivered the first successfully commissioned potato washing facility incorporating a water recycling system in Ireland. The project demonstrates the commitment of K&K Produce to environmental sustainability, offering their customers environmentally friendly products, and qualifying for the An Bord Bia Origin Green accreditation.

The main benefits to K&K Produce have been:

  • Compliance with the An Bord Bia Origin Green requirements.
  • 100 m3 of fresh feed water saved per week.
  • Wastewater from potato washing process eliminated.
  • Wash water quality improvement with a potential benefit on the potatoes shelf life.
  • The factory eliminated sludge management costs as the clay residue is pressed and dried, suitable for land spreading.
Covid Booklet, Photo by Matt Smart via Unsplash.com

Solving the challenges of working remotely

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When the Covid19 pandemic swept the globe at the beginning of 2020, Callaghan Engineering already had a highly mobile workforce with the means and knowledge to work remotely.

Even so, the lockdowns introduced in March brought new challenges. For the first time in the history of the company, every employee was working remotely, every meeting was online, and the deficiencies in broadband availability in some parts of the country were suddenly brought into sharp focus.

For Callaghan Engineering, a system that was originally designed to support one third of the workforce being out of the office at any given time suddenly had to cope with previously unseen volumes of traffic. Moreover, some of the design and engineering software such as AutoDesk Revit and Plant 3D was never designed to be used in this way and the added pressure on the virtual private network links simply amplified these inherent shortcomings.

Callaghan Engineering’s IT Manager and consultant, Declan McGuire, describes the experience.

“The first thing we had to do was make the AutoDesk software usable. We immediately deployed extra workstations. With remote desktop links and some additional software licenses the CAD and Modelling teams were quickly back to full productivity. That gave us the time and space to introduce AutoDesk’s BIM360 Design platform and move some of the core modelling functions into a cloud centric environment. We’d been planning a BIM360 deployment anyway, but the lockdown brought the process forward by several months.”

The challenges didn’t end with the design software however. Pre-Covid, working remotely was normally a short term proposition. Where extended presence was required on a client site, Callaghan Engineering typically provisioned a dedicated site office equipped for this purpose. Such provisions allowed for close control of the IT infrastructure and data. With extended working from home, the situation was considerably more dynamic. As Declan describes it;

“The challenge was that many these home networks had all sorts going on. You’d have phones, tablets, TV’s, games consoles, home automation, CCTV and IoT of every flavour. Put all of that behind a weedy consumer grade router with poor WiFi capabilities, typically located furthest from where it’s needed, and it’s just a recipe for failure. On top of that, security is  typically minimal to non-existent.”

Additional end point security was deployed along with specific interventions to improve connections which in some cases necessitated a broadband upgrade on the consumer side. The end result is a much more robust system with better endpoint visibility and security.

As consulting engineers supporting designated critical services communications are essential. Working with multiple clients across a range of sectors means having to maintain the ability to communicate using whatever tools the client primarily uses. While Zoom emerged as a clear favourite early on, Microsoft Teams has now become the go-to online meeting tool for most.

Reflecting on a Summer like no other in living memory, Director of Projects & Business Development Declan Hughes said;

We were fortunate to have three things on our side, a great team, great clients, and the agility to continue delivering a quality service in difficult circumstances for everyone involved. We’ve learned and adapted throughout the pandemic so overall we are now in a great position to move forward and continue the growth and development of the business in these challenging times.

Callaghan Engineering would like to take this opportunity to thank our staff, clients and suppliers who have worked within Government guidelines to maintain essential services during the pandemic to date. We look forward to continuing operations safely as the situation develops throughout the Autumn and Winter. Stay safe.

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Time for a change?

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Over the past year some fourteen new employees have joined Callaghan Engineering in a variety of roles including process, mechanical and electrical engineering, CAD and Revit modelling, administration and document control.

They have joined design teams working on projects for our clients in the datacentre, biopharma, medtech, healthcare and education sectors with many projects active in design and constructions stages.

Callaghan Engineering has been very successful in winning both new and repeat business from these clients. Our new staff are located in our head office in Dublin and also in our recently expanded Cork office located in Cork Airport Business Park.

If you’re an engineer who enjoys working in a friendly and supportive environment, why not join us? You’ll always find our current vacancies on our careers page.

nZEB Design in Buildings

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nZEB ( Nearly Zero Energy Building standard) is the European Energy Performance of Buildings Directive Recast 2010 (EPBD). It requires all new buildings to be nearly Zero Energy Buildings (nZEB) by 31st December 2020 and all buildings acquired by public bodies by 31st December 2018. This standard is now being applied to all relevant building designs and requires buildings designers and owners to achieve 20% of their primary energy needs from renewable sources on site or nearby. Callaghan Engineering have undertaken nZEB design on 5 school projects over the past 3 months to bring the already completed designs up to the required Part L of the building regulations 2017 for buildings other than dwellings. Central to the design process is the development of a new thermal model to test that with improved design elements for insulation u-values, airtightness, thermal bridging,  glazing and using 10% renewable energy contribution we are achieving the necessary reduction in energy demand compared to a similar building prior to nZEB (reference building). With the design teams , Callaghan Engineering achieved the necessary nZEB changes through the use of photovoltaic cells on the roof and improved u-values in walls, glazing, floors and roof.

Bray Primary Care Centre

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Callaghan Engineering were appointed in 2013, as the Mechanical and Electrical designers for the new Primary Care Centre in Bray, Co. Wicklow.  Following a protracted planning phase the construction is now well underway with the start of the mechanical and electrical services being installed within the building. The building will house several medical clinics on completion including GP, mental health, occupational therapy, physiotherapy and dental. An ‘A’ rating has been achieved in design for the BER building energy rating. Some of the mechanical and electrical features incorporated into the design include air source heat-pumps, rainwater harvesting and LED controlled lights.

An ‘A’ rating has been achieved in design for the BER building energy rating. Some of the mechanical and electrical features incorporated into the design include air source heat-pumps, rainwater harvesting and LED controlled lights.

With multiple tenants, including a pharmacy and cafe, an elaborate security and access control system is in place to manage the movement of staff and customers throughout. The construction will be completed towards the end of 2019.


Holy Spirit School, Kilkenny

Major pharma and medtech project wins for Callaghan Engineering

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Callaghan Engineering continue to standout as one of Ireland’s leading process engineering consultancies having had significant recent wins in both  pharma and medtech sectors in 2018 and into 2019.

Pharma Milling

Callaghan Engineering are project managers and lead designers for a substantial milling and dispensing upgrade project incorporating very high technology containment techniques. This project is taking place within an existing manufacturing facility and will require close coordination between all stakeholders to minimise disruption to existing operations during installation. The drug in manufacture is a statin medication used to prevent cardiovascular disease in those at high risk and treat abnormal lipid levels. This project is being delivered in the Munster region for a confidential client – value €2.2m.

Filter Media

This project encompasses a new building on an existing site for the manufacture of filter media for filter cartridges used throughout industry. The new building will contain cleanroom manufacturing facilities together with plantroom, and connections to existing utilities, and also the on-site thermal oxidiser. The project involves refurbishment of some existing processing facilities. It is located in the Munster region and will be delivered in 2019/20, and is valued at approximately €30m. Callaghan Engineering are the process, mechanical and electrical engineering designers for the project. This will also include leading compliance issues and conducting HAZOP reviews.

Diagnostics Solutions

A major expansion of an existing diagnostics manufacturing facility is currently underway in the Midlands area and is scheduled to be completed in 2019. The project involves a significant extension to the existing facility and includes process tanks, cleanroom facility, and 4 vial filling lines (Argon inerting) with a capacity for 1 million vials/year. The overall investment is approximately €20m. Callaghan engineering have led the mechanical and electrical engineering design and some elements of the process engineering.

Schools Bundle 5 PPP

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Callaghan Engineering are delighted to have been part of the team who delivered 3 major schools projects which formed part of the Schools Bundle 5 PPP. The schools in Wexford and Bray opened in September to the delight of pupils, teachers and parents alike. The projects had been rocked last January when one of the central parties to the PPP, Carillion – a major UK construction firm, was liquidated throwing uncertainty over the future of the projects. However the remaining partner DIF managed to restart the work and bring it to completion.

Callaghan Engineering were responsible for the mechanical and electrical engineering design for Loreto Secondary in Wexford and Colaiste Raithlin and Ravenswell Primary Schools in Bray, with a total constructed value in excess of €30m.

The M&E design scope included the following systems: LV power distribution, vertical transport, control systems, general services, lighting & emergency lighting, fire alarm, security systems/CCTV, hearing enhancement, lightning protection, ICT/Wi-Fi, audio visual, digital signage, public address, water services, heating services, ventilation, gas, energy usage modelling, and BER.

Bray Post Primary & Primary Schools

Wexford Post Primary School

Join us and grow your career with Callaghan Engineering

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Callaghan Engineering Vacancies

Callaghan Engineering is delighted to offer new opportunities for talented individuals to join our existing teams in both Dublin and Cork. We’re looking for people with excellent analytical and communication skills to join a well established organisation with a proven track record in delivering high quality projects.

Click here for our careers page

As one of Ireland’s leading Consulting Engineering firms we provide multi-discipline professional engineering design, validation, procurement, project and construction management services. The firm has successfully undertaken projects in the Data Centre, Biopharmaceutical, Medical Devices, Healthcare, Cosmetics, Food & Beverages, Industrial, Commercial, Educational, Government Agencies, and Tourism and Leisure Markets.

Successful candidates will therefore find themselves exposed to a wide range of engineering challenges across multiple industry sectors but with the backing and leadership of a highly experienced and dedicated team of professionals. Within Callaghan Engineering quality of staff resources is paramount. The development of the company has been based on the two fundamental concepts of attracting high calibre staff & using modern technology.

Our Dublin Office is located in the South city centre and close to all major public transport links. We also provide cyclist/motorcyclist facilities and rota based parking for those occasions when using the car is unavoidable.

Our Cork Office recently located to a modern purpose-built office facility in Cork Airport Business Park which offers first class facilities including on site parking. The office is within easy reach of Cork city and offers ready access to the motorway network.

Regardless of location our employees benefit from flexible working hours which also facilitate an early finish on Fridays. Our highly competitive remuneration packages apply to all positions, plus we offer a range of benefits and incentives including CPD support and time in lieu.

Click here for our careers page

To apply for any of our vacancies simply e-mail hr@calleng.ie with a current CV and with a brief covering letter.

Clifden Community School

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Clifden Community School

Callaghan Engineering were responsible for the M&E Design from concept stage to building completion.   The post primary school is a two-storey and part 3-storey L-shaped building with a floor area of 3852 square metres located on this spectacular sloping site outside Clifden town.  Works also included the demolition of the existing school building and associated pre-fabricated classroom structures once the new school was fully operational. One of the main challenges for this project was that the existing school building had to be kept operational while the new school was built on the same site. The building was completed on time and within budget and will cater for 425 pupils and 38 staff.

New Cork Office Opens

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We are delighted to announce the expansion of our operations in Cork with the opening of a new larger office based in Cork Airport Business Park.


Our new office location enables us to build upon and enhance the local support we provide to all our customers, ensuring that Callaghan Engineering continues to provide the best and most efficient service possible.


Speaking at the opening, Donal O’Callaghan, Managing Director of Callaghan Engineering said;


“It is now 25 years since we first established our office in Cork. In that time we have been able to develop and build long term business relationships with a number of our clients locally which has been a key part of our business for over two decades now.


I am delighted to open our newly expanded office which will further improve our ability to deliver the consistent quality, personal service and attention to detail that our clients have come to expect.


I am also very proud of what we as an organisation have been able to achieve and delighted to be in a position to further grow and develop the business not just here in Cork, but throughout the region and indeed the country.”


Cork native Fergus Cawley, Director of Electrical Engineering and Control Systems for Callaghan Engineering will head up the new office. Speaking at the opening Fergus said;


“The decision to open a new bigger office in this region builds upon our strategic plans for continued growth and development.  We are now better positioned to support our clients, new and existing, not just here in Cork but throughout the entire Southern region and beyond.


Our team has a proven track record in delivering successful outcomes for our clients across a range of industry sectors and I look forward to welcoming our clients, current and future, to our new office.”


Callaghan Engineering has successfully delivered numerous projects in Cork and surrounding areas, continuously building on an already strong portfolio across a range sectors as diverse as bio-pharmaceuticals, medical devices, datacentre, food & beverages and tourisim and leisure

For details of our new office location see:  https://www.calleng.ie/contact/